Holocaust

(a Greek word meaning "sacrifice by fire.") Also known as the "Shoah" in Hebrew. The Nazi-led persecution and murder of eleven million Europeans, including six million Jews, which were approximately one-third of the worldwide Jewish population. Rising to power in Germany in 1933, the Nazis believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that groups such as the Jews, the Roma, the physically disabled and homosexuals were "inferior" and thus did not deserve to live. The Nazis constructed the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question," which included the annihilation of the Jews. During the time of the Holocaust, the Nazis also persecuted Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses and others. The Holocaust officially ended with the end of World War II in 1945. See the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website.

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